DGHC to probe 20-yr-old projects

VIVEK CHHETRI
Darjeeling, May 12: The DGHC has decided to probe into various financial irregularities allegedly committed during the 20-year tenure of hill council under Subash Ghisingh.
The decision was taken after Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today submitted a list of 15 schemes, which they alleged were executed or implemented without conforming to rules, to B.L. Meena, the administrator of the council, at the latter’s office at Lal Khoti
“The council had a cell to facilitate fast and easy payment to contractors who were awarded the projects. No cash book or payment register was maintained to record these transactions,” said D.K. Pradhan, the central committee member of the Morcha. He, along with the party’s general secretary, Roshan Giri, had met Meena today.
The Morcha also demanded a thorough inquiry into the construction of a 5km road between Rambi Bazar and Tarzam busty, for which Rs 55 lakh was spent.
The leaders also told the administrator that proper payments were not made to the beneficiaries of the Swarna Jayanti Rojgar Yojna. “Under this scheme, a worker was to be paid 60 per cent of his wage in cash, while the rest in kind by giving them food grain. However, there is no record of any food grain being distributed to the labourers,” said Pradhan.
The probe will also cover the Rs 13-lakh Rambi water project undertaken during 2004-05, the Rs 7-lakh Suntaley water project and the Rs 20-crore Gorkha Rangamanch Bhawan project.
“For some projects (mid-day meal scheme, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, functioning of Emergency Construction Cell and Swarna Jayanti), an audit team will come to Darjeeling on May 19 for inspection,” said Meena. He added that the audit of some projects would be over within a month.
The administrator said he would write to the Bengal government to send two superintendent engineers to investigate other projects. According to him, it would take a lot of time to probe into the projects executed over 20 years. Meena added that work at Gorkha Rangamanch Bhawan has already been stopped.
The Morcha also discussed with Meena the regularisation of 8,000 contract workers of the DGHC. “Meena said he would take up the matter with the government,” said Giri.(The Telegraph)

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